Extr@ Episode 5: A (TV) Star is Born!

It’s hard to say precisely what this episode is about, but the cast and crew definitely had fun making it! The thread that runs through everything is television. It’s all over the place as a language lesson, but as a silly story about friends and TV, it’s good listening practice. If you haven’t seen it yet, follow these links to exercise your ears in German, French, Spanish, and English.

“Die wahre Traum der Liebe”

When the episode begins, Sascha and Anna are watching a romantic drama on TV. It’s about a “Jung aus Amerika” who falls in love with a “Mädchen aus Deutschland.” And it’s such blatant foreshadowing that I listened to the TV dialogue twice, to check if I recognized the voices. That is, to see if the two leads on Die wahre Traum der Liebe (The True Dream of Love) were also the two leads of Extra deutsch! I’m pretty sure that the actress playing Sascha also did the TV voice . . . But the male voice sounds less like Sam’s than like . . . Nic’s?

Later, the episode hints that the romance that will develop for Sam may not be with Sascha . . . but with Anna! This, plus the existence of at least one Sam-Anna fan video, makes me wonder if we’ll get a surprise at the end of the series.

If you know the ending, no spoilers, please! If you don’t know the ending, guesses are welcome!

“Ich habe die Rolle!”

It is Nic who is the star of this episode — and also the “Star” of the title. We’ve known for a while that he wants to break into showbiz, and now he finally does! He also gives us the two most useful language lessons in the whole episode: How to describe the weather and how to accept an acting award.

Anna also gets to shine a little more than usual, but I find her obsession with TV commercials a little silly. I wonder if this part made it in because some language learners have to act out ads in class. (I never did . . . but if I ever become a language teacher again, I have one new idea!)

Ein Stuck vom Paradies?

When did you start reading recipes in your target language? There was a simple recipe for Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) in my A1 German textbook. But I don’t recall getting a proper cooking vocabulary until an A2 class. In general, language learners seem to learn their way around a foreign restaurant before a foreign kitchen!

Outside of class, I’ve watched cooking and baking videos on my own. And I’m still very proud of a loaf of Brot ohne kneten that I made a few months ago! (Recipe linkScroll down to find my comment!) So when Sam started taking down a recipe from a cooking show, I paid close attention. Who wouldn’t want to make that Stuck vom Paradies (piece of paradise) that is a Schokoeisbombe (chocolate ice cream bomb)? It’s apparently a real dessert, but sadly, Extra deutsch gives us a fake recipe. (Click here for some real recipes)

Extra Extr@

The jokes in all four versions of Extr@ have to be universally funny. Although the producers probably had English speakers as their main target audience, the shows have since been watched by viewers with different first languages. But once in a while we get a joke that requires a bit more familiarity with a different culture.

For instance, a German might find Nic’s stage name, Kurt Knall, a lot funnier than a non-German would. (“Knall” is German for the sound “bang.”) But I think French Nico’s choice of Hector Toutou would get the most laughs from a mixed audience: English and Spanish speakers will think of a ballerina’s tutu, and German speakers will hear the local version of “Bow-wow.” Spanish Pablo’s Antonio Matador comes in a close second, because everyone knows what a matador is — and the whole effect is over the top! I personally think the English Nic has the best stage name . . . but I don’t know if English learners will be as amused by Rock Thrust!

So . . . what’s on your TV?

  1. Do you watch television in your target language? If yes, what kinds of programs do you like best?
  2. If you had to write a simple TV commercial for any product, what would you choose?
  3. Can you tell me in another language how the weather is where you are?
  4. And just for fun . . . how important is language fluency in a romantic relationship?

Next Week: Episode 6, The Lottery

Extra deutsch

Extra en français

Extra español

Extr@ English

3 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 5: A (TV) Star is Born!

  1. Language-wise, it would probably have been better to separate the TV and recipe storylines, but story-wise it actually worked out fairly well.

    I think I only started reading any recipes in Spanish fairly late (and French, in which I haven’t had as much formal instruction, not at all). As you say, you usually learn restaurant-talk far earlier than you learn cooking-talk. This episode makes me wonder, though, if that might really be backward. It’s not surprising that restaurants come up so early, because going to a restaurant is a tourist-y thing that is in the guidebooks, but in real life with our native languages, we mostly just use ordinary conversation skills in restaurants, and, language-wise, knowing your way around a kitchen will take you much farther in a restaurant than knowing your way around a restaurant will take you in the kitchen. So if you were focused on the language, maybe the kitchen would be the better place to start. Recipes would be a good source of very diverse vocabulary — numbers, common items, appliances. It’s also a good context for learning imperatives. (Imperatives are usually taught late, but I’ve always thought that odd — little kids, for instance, always pick up imperatives very early.)

    Watching Spanish TV is something I’ve often intended to do, but never gotten around to doing — perhaps because the easiest things to find are telenovelas, which are not an obvious interest to me; which, of course, raises the question: what kind of Spanish-language program would interest me? It’s a question I’ll have to think about!

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      Given adequate facilities, it would be great to teach a cooking class in another language! Learners wouldn’t be able to hold their dictionaries, so the teacher would have to prepare word cards so that they can look up the imperatives. (This would even be better, if the word cards had images rather than translations!)

      If I may make a suggestion . . . The game show Saber y Ganar (my mind always ads: “una programa presentado por Jordi Hurtado!”) was one of my grandmother’s favorite shows — and if I remember correctly, one of the longest-running Spanish programs of all time. The host and contestants speak really quickly, though . . . as quickly as Alex Trebek and his guests must sound to English learners!

  2. Saber y Ganar does look like it might be useful and interesting as an occasional watch; thanks!

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